Our Second Full Day in Beautiful Glacier Bay National Park
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Not every Alaskan cruise includes a visit to magnificent Glacier Bay National Park. Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour, on the other hand, not only visits Glacier Bay as part of the line’s Discoverer’s Glacier Country itinerary – it stays there overnight and into the next day.
When I sail here on a big ship, I am glued to the open decks for the few hours that the ship is in the park. I’ve even skipped lunch because I know that the ship will soon be sailing out, en-route to the next port of call.
This morning, I woke up to the spectacular sight of Lamplugh Glacier just outside my windows – and literally outside my door. Standing 180 feet above the waterline and submerged for up to 40 feet below, Lamplugh Glacier is considered to be “stable to receding” thanks to a flow rate of approximately two to three feet per day. That means the glacier is only losing approximately 1,200 feet per year of its overall mass that covers a distance of 16 miles.
Not only are we being treated to a second full day in Glacier Bay, we’re also fortunate to have the unusual privilege of getting off our ship this morning for a full day of activities. Guests on large cruise ships are simply not permitted to do so.
I have sailed next to Lamplugh Glacier once before, aboard Holland America’s Zuiderdam back in August of 2012. Large cruise ships almost never round the corner from Tarr Inlet into Johns Hopkins Inlet, but ours did on one particularly beautiful August day. We stayed a few miles offshore, and after an hour or so, rotated around and began our journey out of the park.
Today, I got to walk on the shore right next to the glacier. It’s something I hadn’t even considered to be in the realm of possibility two years ago.
Last night, guests were able to choose one of three activities for today: a rigorous mountain scramble; kayaking in Glacier Bay; or a skiff and beach expedition.